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7 Black Actors Who Are Not Samuel L. Jackson

(That awkward moment when you ask the wrong black guy about his Super Bowl commercial.)

By Dustin Seibert

The lack of prominent black male actors has gone woefully unchecked in Hollywood; there’s still maybe only two or three of them that anyone from any walk of life can name off the top of their head. Samuel L. Jackson is one of them. He earned his recognition by appearing in roughly 71,094,871,634 films during the 1990s and by being, hands down, the only actor of any ethnicity you want to hear say “motherfucker.” So distinguished he is in name and voice, that no one should mistake him for someone else.

Especially not an entertainment reporter.

Los Angeles-based KLTA TV reporter Sam Rubin was recently given the business by Jackson after White Sam asked Black Sam about the feedback he received from the Super Bowl commercial that he was never in because it was actually Laurence Fishburne reprising his role of Neo from the Matrix trilogy. Jackson’s golden response alone was worth the error, and hopefully the avocado-head Rubin will be replaced with someone with a stronger Hollywood acumen, like, say, a 13-year-old girl from Juneau, Alaska.

The sad truth is, Rubin isn’t alone — a lot of non-black people think all of us black men look the same. But unlike Republicans or Adam Sandler movies, we do indeed come in a variety. So, lest you find yourself stumped during bar trivia night, or you’re the potential target of a viral tongue-lashing by Gator from Jungle Fever, allow me to offer you this guide of black male actors who are, indeed, not Samuel L. Jackson. You can thank me later.

Laurence Fishburne

If Sam Rubin took more than a cursory glance at either actor, he would have been able to tell that, while Jackson’s face is baby’s-ass smooth, damn near ageless and worthy of the ol’ “black don’t crack” moniker, Fishburne’s face looks like someone gave it a once-over with the world’s smallest jackhammer. I mean did you see Matrix Reloaded on IMAX?? Dude’s grill has seen better days. Apocalypse Now was a loooooong time ago.

The Allstate Guy

If you were to shave Dennis Haysbert bald and look at him from the opposite side of a basketball court, he might have kinda a Coach Carter thing going on. Plus, they both star in frequently aired commercials, for which they made more money for 37 seconds of work than your sorry ass will make in one year at your soul-crushing job. But no, he’s not Sam Jack, either.


Despite talks that Jackson would play the Kung Fu Master of Harlem in The Last Dragon remake that’ll probably never happen, I’m sure white folks en masse think he was the film’s original antagonist. Both are tall, dark and utter badasses, but Sho’ Nuff has more hair and a stronger affinity for armbands than Jackson ever thought of having. Unfortunately, Sho’Nuff actor Julius J Carry III succumbed to cancer in 2008, while Jackson will probably outlive us all. 

Morris Chestnut

Otherwise known as “Ricky” from Boyz N The Hood and He-Who-Keeps-Panties-Perpetually-Moist, Morris Chestnut is a tall, dark-skinned actor who, like Jackson, is also most remembered for his 1990s supporting movie work. But while Jackson would likely blast a hole in your dome piece just as soon as he’d snort in your direction, Chestnut would probably just Blue Steel you into submission. Not even close.

Morgan Freeman

Jackson has mentioned in the past that he’s often mistaken for Morgan “God” Freeman (he even made the comparison in his riposte to Rubin). If you’re the same age as Miss Daisy and the lens thickness required to correct your vision has yet to be invented, I can kinda see why you might get the two confused. But when Freeman says “motherfucker,” he sounds more like it’s coming from a velvet-voiced provost of a boarding school or something who’s trying too damn hard, and not your cool uncle.

Forest Whitaker

This one should be pretty easy, because Jackson has been borderline crackhead-skinny his entire career, and Whitaker always looks like he’s about one bag of Double-Stuft Oreos away from pulling a Philip Seymour Hoffman (too soon?). But I included him here anyway because you should never underestimate the ability of white folks to get us mixed up. That, and that picture of him is pretty damn great, right?

Lamont from Sanford & Son

He’s not Samuel L. Jackson either. But if anyone can find Demond Wilson, tell him he owes me 10 bucks.

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